7 big steps for ACES, 1 giant leap for copyeditor-kind

downloadI was recently elected to the board of the American Copy Editors Society, and I spent today in my first meeting. It was fascinating to learn about the inner workings of the group and to meet the members of this dedicated, smart, hard-working board.

Even more exciting was learning about everything the group has accomplished in just the past year.

Here are a few of the highlights.

1. A growing membership. At a time when copyediting is viewed by some as a dying profession, ACES’ membership is growing. It’s actually at an all-time high: 926 souls as of March 2013. That’s higher than membership levels were 10 years ago, when newsroom copydesks hadn’t yet been decimated by the decline in print journalism.

2. Regional conferences. ACES launched a series of regional conferences last year, bringing intensive, day-long “boot camps” to six cities around the country. (I presented at the DC conference, along with board members David Sullivan and Andy Bechtel.) This year, a new series of regionals are being planned. Tentative locations include Southern California; Las Vegas; New York City; Portland, Oregon; and Washington, DC. Board member Lisa McLendon organizes the regionals, in the “spare time” she has between organizing the annual conferences.

3. Plagiarism summit. This year, as part of our national conference, ACES is hosting a National Summit on Plagiarism and Fabrication. The half-day session is designed to help editors identify and combat plagiarism, obfuscation, and fabrication. Best of all, ACES has brought several key news and journalism associations into the mix: ASNE, APME, SPJ, and CAJ will all be representing at the summit.

4. E-books. This year, ACES is publishing its first e-book: a collection of white papers on plagiarism prevention, ethics policies from the organizations represented at the plagiarism summit, and other related info. The board is planning to produce more books on topics relevant to copyeditors.

5. A new website, a new PR push. The board has made two important investments this year: hiring a firm to build a new website for ACES and hiring a part-time PR expert to help with communications and promotion.  The website effort is being spearheaded by board member Neil Holdway, and the site should launch in May. Our new PR person, Ann Smith with A.Wordsmith, has already helped to successfully promote our national conference.

6. ACES Twitter chats. Board member Gerri Berendzen launched a biweekly Twitter chat this year, which has become quite popular. The eight chats have seen as many as 406 tweets and 65 active tweeters per hour-long session. They’re put on Storify after the fact – the most popular has had 271 views. The chats are helping to raise the profile of our organization as well as providing a forum for copyeditors to talk together about topics we care about – you know, commas, and stuff like that.

7. We’re going to Vegas, baby! And, in the most exciting news of all, next year’s ACES conference will be held in Las Vegas. Woot! I hope that city is preparing itself for the havoc that a horde of copyeditors, released from the shackles of keyboard and deadline, may wreak.

Samantha Enslen runs Dragonfly Editorial. She is one of the newest members of the ACES board.

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